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Supermodel helps remake Happy Valley kitchen

Homeowner wins a trip from former SI cover girl Cheryl Tiegs
by: Ellen Spitaleri, Cheryl Tiegs, right, shows Barbara Rosier where she can make improvements in her kitchen ceiling, by removing panels and adding a different light fixture.

Cheryl Tiegs is no stranger to the world of kitchen remodeling - she even has a video to prove it.

Tiegs, a former supermodel and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, came to Happy Valley last Thursday to consult with homeowner Barbara Rosier about replacing her kitchen countertops.

'If you just do everything I tell you, you'll be all right,' Tiegs jokingly told Rosier.

Rosier won Tiegs' Beautiful Design Giveaway, sponsored by Cambria, the maker of natural quartz surfaces.

She was chosen at random from 140,000 entries to receive brand new kitchen countertops and a free design consultation with Tiegs and Martha Kerr, a designer and consultant with Neil Kelly.

'When I got the call saying I had won, my first reaction was shock and disbelief - it was a dream come true,' Rosier said.

Tiegs helped Rosier pick out a handsome black speckled quartz for the countertops, and along with Kerr made a number of recommendations to improve the kitchen's aesthetic and practicality.

A 'green product'

Tiegs is the official spokesperson for Cambria, and personally knows the Davis family, the sole owner of the company.

'I was born in Minnesota and they are a Minnesota-based company. I've toured the factory and have been looking at the company for over two years,' she said.

She noted that she won't get involved with a company unless she believes in the product, and what sold her on Cambria was the fact that it is 'a green product.'

Tiegs said, 'I've been working for the environment for many, many years,' adding that she is on the board of the Earth Conservation Corps, based in Washington, D.C., and has worked for the Heal the Bay campaign in Los Angeles.

But when it came time to 'green up' her home she was unsure how to begin.

So she started by changing her light bulbs, driving a hybrid Saturn View and recycling.

When she turned her attention to her kitchen, Cambria entered the picture. Twelve years ago she had installed 'beautiful Italian tiles' in the kitchen, but she discovered the upkeep was difficult and expensive. She objected to the harsh chemicals used to clean and seal the tiles.

When she decided to re-do her kitchen, she 'put [Cambria] everywhere - the kitchen countertop, backsplash and the kitchen floor.'

For Tiegs, a huge selling point for Cambria is that the surface is 'non-porous,' and you don't need any toxic substances to clean it or seal it, and there's no maintenance.

'The company recycles 100 percent of the water they use to make the product and you can get LEED points for using Cambria products,' Tiegs added.

Rosier said that she did some research on the company after she won the kitchen countertop giveaway, and discovered that quartz is 'twice as hard as granite, and because of that it cuts really well and has fine edges.

'And because it is [non-porous] it is sanitary so it is really good for hospitals and schools,' as well as residential kitchens.

Kerr recommends Cambria countertops for her clients at Neil Kelly, saying she is attracted to the product because the 'company is committed to sustainability and environmental concerns.'

She said quartz products from Italy, Israel and Korea have been available for eight or 10 years, but she appreciates the fact that the Cambria product is 'American-made quartz, so it doesn't take so much fossil fuel' to transport it to this country.

Rosier said she is thrilled about 'winning something that supports the earth and the environment,' and she hopes every time she walks into her kitchen she will feel a 'zing of joy.'

Cambria is on the Web at www.cambirausa.com; view the Cheryl Tiegs video at www.cambriausa.com/design_video.cfm.